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The Neolithic of Mainland Scotland

Edited by Kenneth Brophy, Gavin MacGregor, Ian B. M. Ralston

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Archaeologists show us how the Neolithic human lived in mainland Scotland

What was life like in Scotland between 4000 and 2000BC? Where were people living? How did they treat their dead? Why did they spend so much time building extravagant ritual monuments? What was special about the relationship people had with trees and holes in the ground? What can we say about how people lived in the Neolithic and early Bronze Age of mainland Scotland where much of the evidence we have lies beneath the ploughsoil, or survives as slumped banks and ditches, or ruinous megaliths?

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Notes on Contributors
List of Tables and Figures

Part 1. Scotland's Mainland Neolithic in Context
1. Gordon Barclay: A career in the Scottish Neolithic, Ian Ralston
2. Neolithic Past, Neolithic Present: the socio-politics of prehistory, Gavin MacGregor
3. ‘Very real shared traditions’. Thinking about similarity and difference in the Scottish Neolithic, Vicki Cummings
4. Who were these people? A sideways view and a non-answer of political proportions, Alex Gibson
5. Pathways to ancestral worlds: mortuary practice in the Irish Neolithic, Gabriel Cooney

Part 2: Non-megalithic monuments
6. Hiatus or hidden? The problem of the missing Scottish upland cursus monuments, Roy Loveday
7. Making Memories, Making Monuments: Changing understandings of henge monuments in Central Scotland in prehistory and the present, Rebecca Younger
8. Seeing the wood in the trees: the timber monuments of Neolithic Scotland, Kirsty Millican

Part 3: Pits, pots and practice
9. Life's the pits! Ritual, refuse and remembrance in North East Scotland, Gordon Noble, Claire Christie and Emma Philip
10. Huts, halls and holes: Neolithic settlement in mainland Scotland, Kenneth Brophy
11. Rethinking the Balfarg pottery assemblage, Ann MacSween
12. Pursuing the penumbral: the deposition of Beaker pottery at Neolithic monuments in Chalcolithic and early Bronze Age Scotland, Neil Wilkin


About the Author

Kenneth Brophy is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. His specialisms are the British Neolithic and early Bronze Age, and over the past two decades he has excavated a range of prehistoric monuments and cropmark sites across Scotland including ceremonial enclosures, timber halls and stone rows. He is the author of Reading between the lines: the Neolithic cursus monuments of Scotland (2015).

Gavin MacGregor is Honorary Research Fellow at the Univeristy of Glasgow. He has worked in Scottish archaeology in both research and consultancy contexts and is currently a Director at Northlight Heritage where he is responsible for a range of applied heritage projects and programmes.

Ian Ralston is Abercromby Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology and Head of the Archaeology School at the University of Edinburgh, and currently chair of CFA Archaeology. Over his career he has worked on many aspects of Scottish Archaeology before the Vikings, as well as on the later prehistory of western continental Europe. He is the co-author of The Archaeology of Britain: An Introduction from Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century (2009).


'As well as showcasing the wealth of information recently obtained from developer-funded excavations, aerial survey, and radiocarbon dating, the book highlights the many questions that remain to be answered – and underlines the huge contribution made by Gordon Barclay in framing and addressing those questions in his own work.'

- Alison Sheridan, Current Archaeology

'The editors have succeeded in providing a sound platform for consideration of the archaeological evidence. Many valuable approaches are presented, as well as tangible strategies for future work to uncover and give voice to a hitherto under-explored region.'

- Jessica Smyth, Antiquity
'An interesting and useful contribution to the literature on the Neolithic. All the papers are worth reading, and the volume as a whole is nicely produced and well-illustrated. The important contributions inside deserve to be read and discussed in depth, as well as ordered for both libraries and (at this very fair price!) personal collections as well.'
- Oliver J. T. Harris, Scottish Archaeological Journal

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